Day 18: Telling Ourselves the Truth – Exposing Our Unbelief

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

In the tunnels of life, we see one way out, but there are actually two. One path seeks God and the other seeks our own way.

Scripture of the Day:

Numbers 13:2, 17-20

13:2a “Send out men to investigate the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites17 When Moses sent them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negevand then go up into the hill country 18 and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year for the first ripe grapes. 

It is not until we are willing to examine ourselves and give our sin its worst name that we can begin to declare victory. Sin is deceitful, though, and we often do not recognize the subtleties of deception inherent in the walls of our mind.

Sometimes we can be convinced fully in our mind that we are “ok”, but we are covering over this unsettled feeling that will not let go.

The irony in the discomforts of this life is that God is using them to deliver us from self-preoccupation and into a land of promise.

Reminds me of those Israelites again.

There they were, on the edge of entering the promise land and God told them to go check it out. I wonder if he was delighting to see their joy at the blessings He had in store for them. Kind of like I get more excited than my kids to see their expressions as they see the good I have planned for them for various moments of celebration.

He sent them there when the land was full of hope – the grapes were ripe and plentiful, what a good Father. The scouts had a job to do and a choice to make. Would they focus on all the hope surrounding them, or the potential struggles? They told themselves lies. And they convinced others to believe them. God got pretty angry about it, too. Who wouldn’t? Ever prepared an amazing surprise for someone only to have them say they don’t like it?

Maybe in examining the lies they believed we might recognize our own self-deception, too.

Lie #1 – We are not able

Numbers 13:31 “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are”.

Huge flaw in this calculation – kind of left out the God factor here. They gave a discouraging report that focused on their strength rather than God’s and dissuaded the people from believing God.

Lie #2: Doubted God’s goodness and intentions

Numbers 14:3 “Why has the LORD brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder?”

Ouch. The first lie focused on our inability, but the second one accused God. To say that God just wanted to bring them out to kill them. After all He had done for them. But our memories fade and we tend to forget all of the blessings when a massive thorn in our flesh comes knocking at our door.

Lie #3: Rebel against God and form our own plan.

Numbers 14:4 “So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

The Israelites are in pretty bad shape to just say it is time to turn around and go home. Um, where was home? Living in slavery, eating onions and beaten all day? Sure sounds cozy.

They even dared to go ahead and try to claim the promised land their way – not God’s. It did not turn out so well for them.

Lies will flood our mind unless we have the truth ready to dispute it. When we are tested like the Israelites were, we have to counter those attacks with the Word of God.

Truth #1: God is with us – do not fear

Numbers 14:9 “Only do not rebel against theLord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!

God demonstrated His presence over and over again, through His Word and through actions. We need to believe that He is with us and He is for us. It will be hard because reality sometimes hurts desperately. Maybe our hearts melt within us and it seems there is no way out – kind of like that tunnel image above. Closed in by our circumstances, we see one way out, but there are actually two. One path seeks God and the other seeks our own way.

Truth #2: Disbelief in God is hatred toward Him.

Numbers 14:11 “The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me, and how long will they not believe in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them?

Sometimes the fear of the LORD is a good reminder. When we see that our disbelief is wicked in God’s sight, we need to repent and ask God for mercy, to give us faith. None of us would want to say we hate God. But disobedience is not love. As Jesus said, if we love the Father, we will do what He says.

Truth #3: He is good and His plans are good.

Numbers 14:20 “Then the Lord said, ‘I have forgiven them as you asked. 21 But truly, as I liveall the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.'”

Despite the constant disobedience of God’s children, He still forgives and redeems. His plans will not be thwarted. He is loving, long suffering, kind.

Truth #4: He sees you.

Psalm 33:13-15 “The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people. 14 From the place where he lives he looks carefully at all the earth’s inhabitants. 15 He is the one who forms every human heart, and takes note of all their actions.” 

He rules over everything and still considers us. Wow. He saw the Israelites and He sees us. He knows our every thought and He chooses to love us, anyway.

He saw me when I felt inadequate as a wife and sat motionless in the courtroom. He knew the plans that were ahead of me that I could not see when my life was a blur. When my body felt so weak from infirmity for years on end, He spoke strength, even if I could not feel it at the time. Reality sometimes lies to us with its harsh expectations that are void of faith.

The lies come in innocently enough, sometimes cloaked in righteous garb. But we do not have to fall victim to them. We are never trapped. God has a way out that will blow our mind and restore our hope in a way we never thought possible! At the place of our devastation, there is always hope if we will just hold on and trust God.

 

 

Worshipful Wednesday: The God Who Notices Us

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Nothing escapes God’s notice; He is sovereignly working out all of the details of our lives for His glory and our good.

Scriptures of the Day:

Psalm 31:7-8

“I will be happy and rejoice in your faithfulness, because you notice my pain and you are aware of how distressed I am.  8 You do not deliver me over to the power of the enemy; you enable me to stand in a wide open place.”

 

Psalm 33:13-18

“The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people. 14 From the place where he lives he looks carefully at all the earth’s inhabitants. 15 He is the one who forms every human heart, and takes note of all their actions. 16 No king is delivered by his vast army; a warrior is not saved by his great might 17 A horse disappoints those who trust in it for victory; despite its great strength, it cannot deliver. 18 Look, the LORD takes notice of his loyal followers, those who wait for him to demonstrate his faithfulness.” 

This world often holds a deist point-of-view, supposing that a god exists and made the world, but then went on a hiatus.  Maybe he’s too busy, or perhaps he does not care.  Most people can acknowledge that there must be a Creator, but whether or not this Creator is intimately involved in the lives of His creation is where faith begins or dies.

Of all the religions in the world and all the demands of “gods” there is no god like our God. He is the God who “sees” – who saw Hagar and Ishmael, when Hagar thought she would have to watch her son die in the desert.  He is the God who saw Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb; the God Who sees all.

He is the God who notices us and longs to deliver His people.  But sometimes we have to wait and be uncomfortable.  That does not mean He does not see, nor does it mean that He does not care.  What we perceive is “bad” can be a tool used by a loving God who sees what we really need.

As we surrender our will over to the God who really does see it all, we truly are in the best hands.  Our myopic view is self-focused and lacking.  We often see in the here and now and our all-knowing God sees it all.

Now to some this fact of God’s omniscience is comforting – to others it is horrifying.  Each of us could not stand before such a God, unless this all-seeing God would cover our sins. And that is just what our God did.  We do not need to hide or try to attempt to cover over our shortcomings.  We can come before our Holy God, confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness.

Our God Who notices, Who knows every detail of our lives, invites us to trust afresh in Him, even when our circumstances seem dire.  He is able to give grace and strength now and knows the end. He is already there.

Lord, thank You for being so amazing.  I cannot contemplate how You can know all, but I am so grateful that You do.  Help us to trust in You at all times.  You are good!

 

Happy Thanksgiving from Seeing Deep!

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Proverbs 11:25

The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”

Hebrews 13:16

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for stopping by today!  For those of you who were joining in on the season of thankfulness and counting the days until Thanksgiving, some of you might be asking . . . why did she stop on day 18?  Admittedly, I got busy.

My church culminated a 40-day prayer challenge with a 24-hour fast and prayer event that I helped to organize. It was beyond what we could have imagined and God moved in powerful ways.  Each day I have been bursting to share the revelations God has shown me during this season, and today I want to share something special God did this week which has left me humbled and grateful, overwhelmed at His goodness.

Shopping for groceries to prepare the Thanksgiving meal to bring to family in another state, I was in a flurry walking through Wal-Mart, thoughts swimming through my mind of how I could fit in time to make the meal, work and finish planning worship services.

Suddenly a manager interrupted my thought process and motioned for me to stand in another line.  He insisted that he wanted me in that line, that he was the manager and had the authority to do so.

Less wait for me, so I was grateful.  The woman in front of me was ringing out and then frantically realized she did not have enough money for her order.  Somewhere in the store she had dropped a $20 bill.  I’ve been there before – walking up to the register with sweaty palms and anxiety flowing through my body, wondering if my debit card will be rejected or not and the ensuing shame felt as people watch to see if I will have enough to pay.

Suddenly the Lord put on my heart to ask how much she needed and then prompted me to offer to pay the difference.  “You don’t know me”, she said.  Before I could think, the words came out of my mouth, “But Jesus does”.    She began to weep.  In that moment, it really was not about me helping her, but about a God who sees and puts people where he wants them to send a message of His love.

She had just told God that she could not do it anymore – her faith was low, she felt like Job.  God saw her and sent encouragement when she needed it most.  Awesome God.

The amazing thing about being willing to be used by God is that when you are blessing others, you are blessed, as well.  There is something in the sacrifice of giving that brings an inner joy to both the giver and the recipient.  Indeed, it is a miracle, God in the midst, working through people for His glory and their benefit.

In celebration of Thanksgiving, may the gratitude we feel from God’s bounty in our direction become an action of expressing blessing for others from the overflow of God to us.  What a beautiful celebration, indeed.

On this amazing day, when we consider and celebrate a holiday to pause and reflect on individual and corporate blessings, I am most thankful for Jesus, that God saves us and allows us to know Him and then is willing to use us as part of His plan to share His love with the world.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thank you, God, for knowing the number of hairs on our head, for counting every tear, for noticing our pain and for never leaving us or forsaking us.  I love you, Lord!

~Devoted to the precious sister in Christ whom God had our paths cross.  Keep the faith.  He is enough.

When Fear Faces Faith

Isaiah 8:11-13

“Indeed this is what the LORD told me.  He took hold of me firmly and warned me not to act like these people.  ‘Do not say, ‘conspiracy’ every time these people say the word.  Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.  You must recognize the authority of the LORD who commands armies.  He is the one you must respect; He is the one you must fear.'”

2 Kings 6:17

“Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he can see.” The LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw that the hill was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Recently I noticed within myself an anxiety.  Fears creeping in over the atrocities all over the world and what it could mean for my children, friends and family, God’s church, this nation. It is certainly human to have such dread when daily we see evil being committed.  But we who are found in Christ do not need to fear what the wicked dread.

It sounds ridiculous to say, “don’t fear”, when people, crazed with hatred fueled by religion are increasing in numbers and attacking at whim.  Until we truly understand how mighty our God is, how He is omniscient, omnipotent, the only One with whom we will have to answer about how we conducted our lives.  It is then that we recognize temporary threats as nothing compared to the greatness of our God.

Still our faith is tested when we consider that nothing happens apart from His permission.  How could God allow evil to continue?  Why does He not squash them in the midst of their evil campaigns?  To ask such questions is to refute the wisdom behind God’s plan, which includes free will.  Although He permits us to choose how to live this life, He holds promises for those who still trust in Him and persevere in that faith, despite the seeming victory of the evil all around them.

The battle is the Lord’s, and it is a spiritual one.  We see the flesh and often cannot see what is transpiring in the spiritual realm.  But, oh to peacefully, sweetly trust in our Maker’s strength, wisdom and promises.  No matter what things look like to our naked eyes, what God is accomplishing even through evil is unbeknownst to us.  Trusting in His goodness and sovereignty is where we can have peace in all circumstances.  Knowing Him and His revealed will is a compass, enabling us to see His purposes are far above are own.

We desire peace on earth, Jesus said there would not be peace – not because He did not want peace, but because He knew the hearts of men.  We essentially want earth to be Heaven, but it is instead a temporary stay in which our eternity is decided.  We fear death, while Jesus, who chose to face the fear of death for us, said death no longer has any sting. Dwelling in the flesh makes it difficult for us to think with a Heavenly mindset, but we have great hope because God warned us about the things transpiring even now and has revealed the end to us, as well.  He knows the end – isn’t that great news?  Here’s a hint – the bad guys do not win!

God is calling us to trust Him with our fears and also trust that whatever He allows into our lives, He will enable us to walk through it and use it for our good.  But what if anxiety is persistent, despite our faith in God?  Our flesh may struggle with fear still, despite all we know about out amazing God – who uses evil and good for His purposes.  We find compassion in our LORD Jesus, who experienced anxiety when He contemplated what He was about to endure, sweating drops of blood – but he did not allow that anxiety to keep Him from doing God’s will.  He saw the greater purpose and trusted God.  If we focus on God and His character instead of the trial at hand, we will have victory – He’s got it all in His hands.

Lord, open our eyes to see that nothing escapes Your notice and You are in complete control.  Our trust is in You alone, Lord.

What is Your Egypt: The Sovereignty of God

Egypt

Exodus 2:24-25
God heard their groaning, God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the Israelites and God understood.”

Exodus 3:9
“And now indeed, the cry of the Israelites has come to me, and I have also seen how severely the Egyptians oppress them.”

Why did the Israelites have to be held captive in Egypt? God knew the Israelites would starve had it not been for sending Joseph to Egypt, and that a difficult calling. Blessed in the land of Egypt, later they found themselves resident in a land that discriminated against them and persecuted them viciously. Was this what God intended?

What I love about the story of the Israelites is God’s amazing sovereignty throughout. He brought the Israelites to Egypt because He knew a famine was coming. He chose Moses from a Levitical tribe. He had Pharaoh’s daughter find Moses, which preserved his life, then provided his sister, Miriam, to find his mother as a nursemaid. Later, God would have Moses find Jethro, who would become his father-in-law, and then lead Moses to deliver His people from Egypt to the promised land.

Perhaps you are in Egypt now – not the literal Egypt, of course, but a time of suffering and testing, holding you captive. Have you believed the lie that you will never be set free? Assuredly we cannot escape Egypt unscathed or scarred by the painful memories of that experience, but we can see those oppressive moments redeemed and used for good in our life and in the lives of others. Reflecting on how God provided for the Israelites and always knew the end can give courage to our souls that this same God will not abandon us. He knows. He sees. He understands.

Sometimes surviving in and even recovering from Egypt can take awhile, but knowing that even in those moments of sorrow, God has intentions far beyond what we could imagine. Nothing is wasted in God’s kingdom. Seemingly forgotten in your Egypt, God knew all along how He was going to fashion the fabric of your life with material that was deemed ugly combined with what He deemed beautiful. By the way, God still hears the cries of His children…cry out to Him today, not just for yourself but for others, too, who need some encouragement during their stay in Egypt.

Lord, thank You that You are sovereign! Nothing is hidden from You and You are faithful to weave our difficulties with moments of triumph, all for your magnificent glory!